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Fast-expanding cable, telephone, and Internet services giant NTL Inc. will pay $3.7 billion for its sixth acquisition this year, Cablecom Holding AG of Switzerland, the companies announced in London and Zurich. Cablecom has almost 1.4 million subscribers, plus 140,000 more for an Internet service-provider subsidiary. NTL's corporate headquarters are in New York, but most of its business is conducted in Britain. Earlier this year, it bought controlling interest in Diamond Cable of Nottingham, England; Cable-link of Dublin, Ireland; 1G Networks, a division of France Telecom; BT Cable Services; and Cable & Wireless Communications.

With the US leading the way, online games will earn as much as $5 billion a year by 2004, a London market-analysis group projected. Datamonitor said faster technologies, coupled with cheaper Internet rates would turn videogame-playing into a mainstream form of entertainment. It estimated the US would account for $2.8 billion in revenues within the next four years, with Western Europe second, at about $2.1 billion.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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